It started with a pair of kid scissors and paper. Now, a design by Visual and Performing Arts Professor Sherry Freyermuth appears on rolls of Bounty paper towels available across the country.
Freyermuth was one of eight winners of a national design competition by Brit + Co in partnership with Procter & Gamble’s Bounty. Brit + Co is a digital platform that encourages women to live creatively and at their fullest potential.
Freyermuth creates collage art by cutting plain paper with children’s scissors and arranging the pieces to create surface designs. She photographs her work, uploads it, and completes the project by adding color with Adobe Illustrator. Freyermuth used this technique to create a whimsical floral pattern for the paper towels.
“I’ve been doing graphic design for years, but I just started illustrating, so winning felt like a long shot,” Freyermuth says.
The competition was open to female-identifying artists, who had to submit two pieces of art that represent their work. Freyermuth submitted a paper collage of the quote “she believed she could, so she did” and a floral design.
Bounty received more than 300 submissions and selected 50 people, including Freyermuth, to attend an entrepreneurship course that challenged designers to develop their brand and mission. Freyermuth used what she learned to launch a website and create a children’s craft kit.
From those 50, Bounty then chose Freyermuth and seven other winners to have their designs grace the paper towel collection themed “A Clean Fresh Start.” She also received a $5,000 prize. The paper towels were introduced in the fall and are for sale at retailers including Kroger and Family Dollar.
“Trying to elevate a paper towel is definitely the theme of this collection,” she says. “It’s taking something functional in your home and making it more joyful to enhance your space.”
The children in Freyermuth’s life are among her biggest sources of inspiration.
“My son is really into dinosaurs so I’m working on a dinosaur collection right now,” says Freyermuth, whose art is often commercially focused. Some of her designs are available on her website.
“I want my projects to feel handmade and maybe a little quirky,” she adds. “The things I’m most proud of are very kid-friendly and youthful. I want them to feel a little naive and have a sense of childlike fun.”
Freyermuth released a book with Bloomsbury Publishing in October. “Surviving the Creative Space: Teamwork Techniques for Designers” was an exercise in challenging the misconceptions her students have about teamwork. The book explores agency and in-house team structures and includes a chapter devoted to freelancing.
“The thread throughout the book is community and friendships,” she says. “These relationships make the creative career sustainable, fun, and engaging.”
Between the Bounty competition and her book, Freyermuth hopes to counteract the popular perceptions of the starving artist.
“There are so many ways artists make money,” she says. “I’m just starting my journey into small business ownership. I hope students see it’s possible to make a living as an artist.”